Dubbed the terrestrial Ha Long Bay, Ninh Binh (pronounced Ning Bing) is truly a magical avatar escape, full of towering limestone mountains, expansive caves and secret river ways. All of this awesome is located only two hours away from Vietnam’s capital of Hanoi. This sleepy little town is full of rice paddies, water buffaloes and some of the most stunning views you’ve ever seen. A trip to Ninh Binh is an absolute must if you are visiting Hanoi!
Getting to Ninh Binh:
Getting to this little rural paradise is actually quite easy! From Hanoi there is a train (Ga Hanoi) that departs every day, it takes about two hours, has A/C, chargers for your phone and is only about five US dollars! When you arrive you can book your ticket back! Easy peasy.
What to do:
For being a provincial town there is actually loads of things to do that are packed with adventure and history! Here are my top picks for your weekend escape:
Trang An Boat Tour:
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Floating around these emerald waters was a dream 💫 • Took a quick little trip to Ninh Binh (pronounced Ning Bing) and this little town did not disappoint! Just a short train ride away from Hanoi this avatar-esque paradise is unreal. Similar to Ha Long Bay the limestone cliffs tower over you but instead of the sea, here there are rice patties and rivers below. We took a little boat out and explored the caves and rivers that snake through the town! The fresh air and low key vibes are doing wonders for my soul. 🌿 • Do you have a favorite place where you can go to chill out and relax??
This little boat tour is quite impressive! You will paddle through caves, and float through some of the most breathtaking mountain scenes. For about eight USD you get a around three hours of blissful exploration. You will stop off at a number of different pagodas and temples only accessible by boat! Bring a little snack if you are prone to getting hangry, there are few options for food along the way, and as it did for us – three hours began to feel very long without a snack!
Bich Dong Pagoda:
This pagoda is a great one to visit if you are short on time! There is no hike or boat required. Just bike up to where it is and walk in! It’s striking archway at the front is what draws many visitors along with the pond it sits on, which in the summer explodes in pink lotus flowers!
Mua Caves Hike:
This hike up around 400 stairs will take you to the BEST view of Ninh Binh there is! Photos don’t do it justice, you will have to just experience it for yourself! There also are some caves there but meh – the hike and view take the cake!
This city was once the capital of Vietnam! Around 1,000 years ago there were many different structures but now there are only two. Located only 20 minutes from Ninh Binh visiting this ancient city is well worth the trip!
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Travel makes you realize no matter how much you know, there's always more to learn 😍 ☼ Hoa Lư is the ancient capital of Vietnam, it is over 1,000 years old. Time has taken its toll on what once was a glorious town and all that remains of this city are two buildings!! The archways are sloped and the tiles uneven, but there are so many beautiful details that still remain ✨ ☼ Where is the oldest place you've been?!
Other things to do if you have more time would be:
- Visiting the Va Long Nature Reserve
- Bai Dinh Pagoda
- Tam Coc Boat Trip